An epidemic that commenced a year ago called Sea Starlet Wasting Disease (SSWD) has killed thousands of Northeast Pacific Coast sea starlets. The wasting disease that has affected at least 20 species of sea starlets embarks with tissue ulcers and eventually causes the bods of sea starlets to degrade into piles of slime. Researchers believe densovirus is responsible for SSWD. Albeit the virus has been present in the Pacific Ocean since at least 1942, researchers are not sure how or why the virus has all of a sudden bloomed causing mass killing of sea starlets. Peter Raimondi, a marine ecologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who is involved in the probe of the current epidemic says no environmental factors have been found to correlate with either the onset or the progression of the disease. Researchers are investigating the causes behind the SSWD outbreak and possible ways of protecting the sea starlets.
Read more in Nature.